by Kitty Hu
(10 February 2013) The 2013 ISU Four Continent Figure Skating Championships continued on the 9th in Osaka. Japanese skaters gave their best performance and finished top three after the short program.
After two sluggish season, the two time World Champion Asada Mao finally put her best performance on her short program in 2013 Four Continent Championships. She landed a beautiful triple Axel for the first time in 2 years, that give her more confidence going to the triple flip - double toe combination and the triple loop. All her jumps got plus GoE scores. Her 74.49 points made was her season best and only 1.35 points to go to break her personal best made in the Vancouver Olympics.
Mao was very pleased with her performance today. ’Today in my short program I was able to give my best with my current ability. I have been saying that this year I will include a triple Axel in my competition and I succeeded today. I am very happy with that. This was the best short since this season, and all I could give right now. Today I did good job for both presentation and technical skill.’
Akiko Suzuki also cleanly skated her short today. She land a triple toe loop - triple toe loop combination jump, a triple flip and a double Axel. Her score of 65.65 points is her season best, and this is her first time to cleanly skate her short this season. The only flaw was her flying camel spin.
‘I think my jumps were very good. But as soon as I got off the ice my coach told me there may be problem with my camel. I do think I could improve on my spins and also my step was level 3 so there is much I can do in the future.’ Akiko said to the press.
Kanako Murakami suffered a bad Gran Prix season this year. The bronze medalist of 2010 Grand Prix Final did not make to the final in Sochi this year. But after the Japan Championships, Kanako finally adjust herself to a stable situation. She land a double Axel and both triple toe loop - triple toe loop combination, and triple flip in the second half of the program. The performance gave her a season best score 64.04.
‘I felt a little bit nervous before I starting my program, but I was able to calm down and get the concentration to the competition. I was the first time for this season without mistakes in the program so that made me very happy. But my flip is not very stable during the training, I think I could work on that as well as my step sequence.’
Christina Gao skated a clean short program with a high quality triple toe loop - triple toe loop combination, with a GoE value of 1.3, and also her double Axel and triple Lutz jump landed smoothly. Given her best performance, Gao imporved her personal best with a score of 62.34 points, and broke the former one she made two years ago in Junior Grand Prix competition.
Grace Gold made her Four Continents debut in Osaka, but unfortunately the ambitious young lady did not give her best performance here. Her triple flip - triple toe loop combination was marked with an edge error for the flip, and she had a one hand touch down when she landing the triple Lutz. 60.36 points put her 4th place after the short.
‘I think my program is OK today. It wasn’t the best but I stood up on everything and I skated clean so I was happy. This Four Continents for me is about experience, I have not competed in many international competitions up till now. It was an amazing experience that I could compete with the World Champion such as Mao,’ Gold said.
Kexin Zhang from China gave a very strong come-back performance in the competition. The World Championship 7th place skater stopped her training after last season and withdrew from Grand Prix competition this season. She skating to "Nocturne" by Chopin for her short, landing a triple toe loop - triple toe loop combination, a triple Lutz, and a double Axel. 57.56 points put her 6th place after the short.
Agnes Zawadzki from USA placed 7th with 57.45 points. She lost balance when she landed her first jump triple Lutz in her short, and fell down on double Axel, but she land her triple toe loop - triple toe loop combination smoothly. ‘I missed the double Axel like in the U.S. nationals. I was definitely a little bit more nervous than I was at nationals . I was kind of fighting that nervousness on the Lutz. But after that I told myself to go into my knees for the toe-toe and I thought I did that well.’
The Ladies Free Skating will continue on the third day of the 2013 Four Continent Championships.
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